Author Topic: Senate Commerce Committee Executive and Congress Version - July 15 onwards  (Read 708716 times)

Offline psloss

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In your striving for purity don't forget all the skilled personnel on the Shuttle/SRB/Cx/Orion side who have been laid off or will be on Oct 1st due to this stalemate. Some of these people will be needed again once a SDLV of some persuasion is agreed. It is best that a bill is passed before then to avoid crucial skill set loss even if the bill isn't perfect.
Things could change, but it's still sounding like the first appropriations bill to be passed for FY 2011 will be a continuing resolution:
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/07/27/wolf-makes-few-predictions-about-the-nasa-appropriations-process/

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On the timing of an appropriations bill, Wolf said it was likely there would be some kind of continuing resolution (CR), although he wasn’t sure how long would run. “I think a lot will depend on what will happen in the elections,” he said. He thought there was a “reasonable chance” that the CR would extend into January and a new Congress, one that Wolf believes, at least on the House side, will be in the hands of the Republican party. He was particularly wary of anything done by a post-election “lame duck” session in November or December, including passage of an omnibus bill that wraps up multiple appropriations into a single bill. “I think the less that happens in a lame duck session the better.”

The language in the bill could still address workforce issues, but the ones we've seen drafted/introduced may be set aside for the elections.

Offline yg1968

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I would say at this point it's likely that whichever bill can get to the calendar and pass will then become the vehicle for working out differences and arriving at a consensus. That consensus can possibly be achieved through an informal "preconference" process--as was done in 2008 with the NASA authorization bill enacted that year--rather than a formal Conference. With so little time remaining in the session, the situation is fluid and dynamic and unpredictable so my suggestion is to sit tight and stay tuned.

I hope that the House bill doesn't become the starting point. The Senate bill has a lot of the pinciples of FY2011 and of the recommendations of the Augustine committee. It can be sold as a compromise. That can't be said about the House Bill. I would rather have a bill enacted after October 1, 2010 that is a true compromise.   

In your striving for purity don't forget all the skilled personnel on the Shuttle/SRB/Cx/Orion side who have been laid off or will be on Oct 1st due to this stalemate. Some of these people will be needed again once a SDLV of some persuasion is agreed. It is best that a bill is passed before then to avoid crucial skill set loss even if the bill isn't perfect. Remember the enemy of the good is always the perfect ;).

Don't forget that the House bill would likely continue Ares I. So it's the ennemy of a SD-HLV as well.
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 01:49 pm by yg1968 »

Offline nooneofconsequence

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My read of the tea leaves is that the House stays in denial as we go into recess. Way too pigheaded and fearful for otherwise.

I'd hate to be rushing around on the Hill to make this happen right now.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline Jim

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1.  When the USAF forked over 1 billion to then Boeing and Lock-Mart, there were no requirements that went with it?  As a consequence to having that funding they were totally hands-off?

2.  What oversight role does the Air Force have today with respect to the launch vehicles design and operations?  Do they have a program office?  If so, what does it do?

1.  There were a few requirements documents, performance based.  The USAF had no requirements on the shape of the vehicle, engines, propellants, materials, construction methods, launch ops conops, etc.  Just put these types of payload into these orbits and reduce the cost by 25%. 

2.  They have a program office.  It is there to buy the EELV's and to make sure they get what they pay for.  Much like NASA's LSP.  Aerospace is their support.  The USAF, NRO and NASA collaborate on monitoring the EELV fleet.   NASA has resident offices in Denver and Decatur, for fleet insight and the USAF is following suit.

The USAF program office has 650 government, military, aerospace, and contractor personnel but this number also included Delta II and  Launch and Test Range System Programs.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2010 08:37 pm by Jim »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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So is the House more likely to pass the Senate bill (assuming the Senate pass it), or to pass its own bill and go to conference?

I'm guessing, politically, reps get more credo for having actually voted to protect sacred cows, even if the conference bill later kills them.

When are we likely to see each authorization bill (and conference if required) passed?

Ditto appropriations.

I would say at this point it's likely that whichever bill can get to the calendar and pass will then become the vehicle for working out differences and arriving at a consensus. That consensus can possibly be achieved through an informal "preconference" process--as was done in 2008 with the NASA authorization bill enacted that year--rather than a formal Conference. With so little time remaining in the session, the situation is fluid and dynamic and unpredictable so my suggestion is to sit tight and stay tuned.

I hope that the House bill doesn't become the starting point. The Senate bill has a lot of the pinciples of FY2011 and of the recommendations of the Augustine committee. It can be sold as a compromise. That can't be said about the House Bill. I would rather have a bill enacted after October 1, 2010 that is a true compromise.   

I can say this with absolute assurance. The House bill, in it's current form, even as amended in Committee, would NEVER pass the Senate. Unlike the House bill, which was essentially an internal, Majority committee product--at least according to minority committee staffers who didn't see the draft until shortly before it was published--the Senate bill was written from the beginning in a bipartisan collaborative effort that included reaching out beyond the Commerce Committee membership to any and every Member known to have an interest or concern with NASA and its programs, and building a consensus around the core elements of the bill, taking all those interests into account and accommodating them to the point there was a unanimous vote to report the bill. It already comes very close to representing a cohesive Senate position, supportable by the body as a whole. The very close adherence of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee AND full Committee last week to the allocations and amounts--and associated redirection of the appropriations lines in the policy and program direction reflected in the Commerce Committee bill, very clearly helped underscore that point.

Of course, the "proof" of that assertion will have to wait for the request for the Senate to adopt it by unanimous consent as well, but I for one have never, in 35 years in this business, been more confident at this stage that such a UC request will be achievable.

That suggests to me that, even if the House takes up and passes its bill before their recess begins on Friday, as it appears they are considering doing (in a way which would not allow for any amendments from the floor of the House, which would not be acceptable to a lot of House members who want a chance to "refine" it further, and in a way closer to the Senate language), and sends that bill to the Senate, it will be referred to the Senate Commerce Committee where it will sit unless and until the unlikely event the Senate could not pass its compromise/consensus-based bill and needed to turn to the House-passed bill as the legislative vehicle to use to enact a NASA Authorization bill.

Even then, before passage by the Senate, it would be amended in its entirety with substitute language for the entire bill which either reflected precisely the language of the Senate bill or--assuming the House is serious about enacting an authorization bill--language agreed upon in the course of the sort of "preconferencing" activity I described in an earlier post.

If the House proceeds to seek consideration of the Science Committee reported bill, there must be a vote on agreeing to suspend the rules for that bill and move it to the Suspension Calendar. A vote against that motion would NOT necessarily represent a vote against the notion of a NASA authorization bill, or even this particular bill, but could be a very reasonable and responsible vote that suggests more time is needed for members of the House to digest a 100-plus page bill that was JUST published yesterday before attempting to force the House to accept it simply as reported.

It will be an interesting next few days in the House--and next week in the Senate, before it, too, breaks for the August recess.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline sdsds

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When the USAF forked over 1 billion to then Boeing and Lock-Mart, there were no requirements that went with it?  As a consequence to having that funding they were totally hands-off?

That description doesn't capture the essence of the EELV acquisition strategy.  From the horse's mouth:

Quote from: USAF
EELV Fact Sheet
Acquisition History

The initial phase of the EELV program, Low Cost Concept Validation (LCCV), was successfully completed in November 1996. LCCV emphasized competition in preliminary designs and risk reduction demonstrations. Four $30-million contracts were awarded during this phase to Alliant Techsystems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace. (Note: Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas at about the time this competition ended.)

During the second phase, pre-engineering and manufacturing development, two $60-million, 17-month contracts were awarded to The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation to continue refining their system concepts and complete a detailed system design.

EELV phase three began in October 1998 with the award of two development agreements and two initial launch services contracts (known as Buy 1) totaling more than $3 billion.
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Offline psloss

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That suggests to me that, even if the House takes up and passes its bill before their recess begins on Friday, as it appears they are considering doing (in a way which would not allow for any amendments from the floor of the House, which would not be acceptable to a lot of House members who want a chance to "refine" it further, and in a way closer to the Senate language), and sends that bill to the Senate, it will be referred to the Senate Commerce Committee where it will sit unless and until the unlikely event the Senate could not pass its compromise/consensus-based bill and needed to turn to the House-passed bill as the legislative vehicle to use to enact a NASA Authorization bill.


It will be an interesting next few days in the House--and next week in the Senate, before it, too, breaks for the August recess.
Is it possible now that the Senate will hold off on putting the Commerce committee's authorization bill on the Calendar until after the House bill?
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 02:16 pm by Chris Bergin »

Offline yg1968

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Elon Musk is asking us to call our Congressionnal representative to oppose passage of the House bill on Friday:

Quote
SpaceX

Your Help Urgently Needed to Save the Future of Human Spaceflight

If you care about the future of American space exploration, your urgent help is necessary. The only hope for the average citizen to one day travel to space is in danger due to the actions of certain members of Congress. SpaceX does not have the enormous lobbying power of the big government contractors to stop them, however with your help the day can still be saved.

NASA’s Authorization bill (H.R. 5781) will be debated on the floor of the US House of Representatives tomorrow. Despite the imminent retirement of the Space Shuttle, H.R. 5781 authorizes over five times as many taxpayer dollars to fly NASA astronauts on the Russian Soyuz than it invests in developing an American commercial alternative, moreover at a time when jobs are sorely needed in the United States. Quite simply, this bill represents the sort of senseless pork politics that has driven our national debt to the point where our economy can barely service it.

The bill is expected to be brought to the House floor this Friday under a special “suspension of the rules,” which is a procedure that limits debate and amendments.

Telephone your Congressional representative right away via the House Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask them to vote NO on H.R. 5781, and instead support the bill unanimously agreed to in the Senate last week.

Your five minutes will make a critical difference, ensuring an exciting and inspiring future in space travel! SpaceX rarely asks you to take action, so you know it really matters when we do.

--Elon--
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 02:07 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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That suggests to me that, even if the House takes up and passes its bill before their recess begins on Friday, as it appears they are considering doing (in a way which would not allow for any amendments from the floor of the House, which would not be acceptable to a lot of House members who want a chance to "refine" it further, and in a way closer to the Senate language), and sends that bill to the Senate, it will be referred to the Senate Commerce Committee where it will sit unless and until the unlikely event the Senate could not pass its compromise/consensus-based bill and needed to turn to the House-passed bill as the legislative vehicle to use to enact a NASA Authorization bill.


It will be an interesting next few days in the House--and next week in the Senate, before it, too, breaks for the August recess.
Is it possible now that the Senate will hold off on putting the Commerce committee's authorization bill on the Calendar until after the House bill?


The Senate is moving forward in the normal process to pass its bill, without regard to what the House does; that's just the normal course of business, that leads eventually to a conference process between the two bodies to determine the content of a final product.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline yg1968

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That suggests to me that, even if the House takes up and passes its bill before their recess begins on Friday, as it appears they are considering doing (in a way which would not allow for any amendments from the floor of the House, which would not be acceptable to a lot of House members who want a chance to "refine" it further, and in a way closer to the Senate language), and sends that bill to the Senate, it will be referred to the Senate Commerce Committee where it will sit unless and until the unlikely event the Senate could not pass its compromise/consensus-based bill and needed to turn to the House-passed bill as the legislative vehicle to use to enact a NASA Authorization bill.


It will be an interesting next few days in the House--and next week in the Senate, before it, too, breaks for the August recess.
Is it possible now that the Senate will hold off on putting the Commerce committee's authorization bill on the Calendar until after the House bill?


The Senate is moving forward in the normal process to pass its bill, without regard to what the House does; that's just the normal course of business, that leads eventually to a conference process between the two bodies to determine the content of a final product.

In your opinion, is the quick passage of an unamended House bill a good thing or a bad thing?

I imagine that it's a good thing in the sense that it moves thing frowards. But I imagine that it could also be seen as a bad thing in the sense that it could force the Senate to compromise even further on a bill that already strikes a very difficult balance.
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 02:51 pm by yg1968 »

Offline MP99

The Senate is moving forward in the normal process to pass its bill, without regard to what the House does; that's just the normal course of business, that leads eventually to a conference process between the two bodies to determine the content of a final product.

Does anyone know if there's a published version of the latest draft of the Senate bill, eg including the change to a 130mT upper limit in place of the original 150mT?

Edit: haven't been able to find anything more up-to-date than the Rockefeller PDF.

cheers, Martin
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 03:21 pm by MP99 »

Offline simonbp

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Does anyone know if there's a published version of the latest draft of the Senate bill, eg including the change to a 130mT upper limit in place of the original 150mT?

It was never 130 and 150 metric tonnes, but 130 and 150 US short tons, which are 118 and 136 metric tonnes, respectively. Significant, as the 118 tonne number is very close to the capacity of both the Sidemount and Inline Block III designs in the SD-HLV study (113 tonnes).

Offline marsavian

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It's not an upper limit, it's a minimum growth target, '130 tons or more'.

Offline yg1968

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Does anyone know if there's a published version of the latest draft of the Senate bill, eg including the change to a 130mT upper limit in place of the original 150mT?

It was never 130 and 150 metric tonnes, but 130 and 150 US short tons, which are 118 and 136 metric tonnes, respectively. Significant, as the 118 tonne number is very close to the capacity of both the Sidemount and Inline Block III designs in the SD-HLV study (113 tonnes).

Senator Nelson said metric tonnes in the press conference. He said that the HLV should be between 75mt to 100mt.
« Last Edit: 07/29/2010 05:23 pm by yg1968 »

Online Chris Bergin

What sort of payloads would we be talking about in those higher ranges? MTV propulsion stages? Someone's going with those numbers for a reason, I'd assume.
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Offline rjholling

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118mT sounds like they just picked the number based upon the lift capability of Saturn V which was 118mT.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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That suggests to me that, even if the House takes up and passes its bill before their recess begins on Friday, as it appears they are considering doing (in a way which would not allow for any amendments from the floor of the House, which would not be acceptable to a lot of House members who want a chance to "refine" it further, and in a way closer to the Senate language), and sends that bill to the Senate, it will be referred to the Senate Commerce Committee where it will sit unless and until the unlikely event the Senate could not pass its compromise/consensus-based bill and needed to turn to the House-passed bill as the legislative vehicle to use to enact a NASA Authorization bill.


It will be an interesting next few days in the House--and next week in the Senate, before it, too, breaks for the August recess.
Is it possible now that the Senate will hold off on putting the Commerce committee's authorization bill on the Calendar until after the House bill?


The Senate is moving forward in the normal process to pass its bill, without regard to what the House does; that's just the normal course of business, that leads eventually to a conference process between the two bodies to determine the content of a final product.

In your opinion, is the quick passage of an unamended House bill a good thing or a bad thing?

I imagine that it's a good thing in the sense that it moves thing frowards. But I imagine that it could also be seen as a bad thing in the sense that it could force the Senate to compromise even further on a bill that already strikes a very difficult balance.

Obviously, any amendments that might be offered that would bring the House bill closer to the Senate, particularly in the areas of HLV development (avoiding the potential for just authorizing a "do-over" on Constellation), commercial development (especially COTS-cargo), and ISS sustainability and utilization, would be better, as those are the areas where the Senate will have to remain firmest, due to the nature of the compromise already reflected in that bill which is essential to Senate passage. So not allowing any amendments does mean the starting points for discussion are wider apart. Of course, there could also be amendments which drove those points still further apart, too, so there's always that risk in opening a bill to amendment. No way to predict that.

The key thing is that, because of the way the Senate bill was produced, and then its programmatic allocations reflected in CJS appropriations language--which required an even expanded level of consensus--it is very well understood where the lines have to be drawn within the Senate to maintain support. So, from that standpoint, having the Senate language as the legislative "vehicle" is the preferred position, from my vantage point.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Lars_J

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What sort of payloads would we be talking about in those higher ranges? MTV propulsion stages? Someone's going with those numbers for a reason, I'd assume.

To guarantee that a Shuttle-derived solution, and the jobs that go with it. Of course there is no actual need for such lift capacity in the foreseeable future.

Offline jkumpire

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What sort of payloads would we be talking about in those higher ranges? MTV propulsion stages? Someone's going with those numbers for a reason, I'd assume.

To guarantee that a Shuttle-derived solution, and the jobs that go with it. Of course there is no actual need for such lift capacity in the foreseeable future.

Is that your opinion, or do you have clear knowledge of the future?

I think you assume too much about what tomorrow may bring.

Offline Namechange User

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What sort of payloads would we be talking about in those higher ranges? MTV propulsion stages? Someone's going with those numbers for a reason, I'd assume.

To guarantee that a Shuttle-derived solution, and the jobs that go with it. Of course there is no actual need for such lift capacity in the foreseeable future.

While retention of a skilled workforce and understood and proven hardware should seem like an obviously smart thing to do, you and many who spout your uninformed dogma over and over again is boardering on annoyance.

A shuttle derived vehicle in no way will guarantee the workforce transitions in a 1:1 format.  The most significant portion of the STS workfoce, the orbiter - which equates to the highest number of heads from ground operations, engineering and mission operations, will not all transfer to SLS or whatever it ends up being called. 
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

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